Take the Guesswork Out of Name Parsing
Your recipient's name and its configuration represent one of the most important factors in the success of your mailing. Getting the name right in our global village—with its plethora of language considerations and name configurations—is extremely difficult and, if not controlled, can be a poor representation of your marketing effort.
The companies that process your postal file most often use integrated software products that have system functionality called name parsing and name casing. These products use advanced mathematical algorithms and very large dictionaries with millions of names that often take an educated "guess" at the correct name configuration.
Don't put the success of your mailing at the mercy of software. Take the guesswork out of parsing and casing by following these three steps.
Step 1: Define the name in separate fields-first name, middle name, last name. Never allow output to be "full name" field. Your vendor will have no choice but to name parse and name case either passively (reduced constraints) or aggressively.
Step 2: Require your processing facility to use your input name only, with no changes. Most software and processing facilities are glad you're taking the guesswork out of the name.
Step 3: Require sample copies of your name output that validates the vendor did not manipulate the names. These could be seed names either on electronic or hard copies.
Rick Eggers is data processing manager at IWCO Direct, an integrated direct marketing services provider headquartered in Chanhassen, Minn. He can be reached at email@example.com.